As soon as we saw the winding brae up to Little Italy and then walked in, we had a good feeling. It is a small place but cosy and not cramped, and the red checked tablecloths looks genuinely charming. The owners seem to be from southern Italy (Naples), and it does have the warmth and earthiness of the south somehow, as opposed to the chic, slick modernism of the north. It's only just a few feet from the Eastgate Centre, but you do feel you've stepped onto Italian territory. You definitely need to book here, and if it's warm enough & you want informal, you can sit outside for a drink or pizza.
The service was efficient but friendly, and you do feel you can ask questions. There's a wide menu and several specials a day. The choice of wines or beers is good too. We mixed and matched with a la carte dishes and a special.
For a starter my husband had bruschetta which he enjoyed tho he does like his bread a little crisper. I had a delightful dish of grilled sardines, which were v tasty indeed, nicely seasoned. For a main I had sea bass and vegetables, a most beautifully cooked full fillet with a mystery sauce. The sauce was stupendous, with little bursts of peppercorn and aniseed (maybe fennel?) I say mystery as I asked for the recipe but the waiter said the cook keeps it secret and wouldn't even tell him! I would certainly recommend trying it. My husband was equally pleased with his lasagne, which he gave 9/10. There's only my own and a certain place in Glasgow that get 10/10!
We don't usually have dessert but we knew we were onto a good thing here and we ordered tiramisu fresh made that morning and tartufo, a sort of chocolate and ice cream cake. Both were light and delicious, and the tartufo was every chocaholic's dream. We shared with each other to get the benefit of both.
I really do recommend eating here: It's particularly nice to eat early before it gets very busy, but even as we were leaving at 6.30, it was filling up fast. We had just come back from Venice, and this was nicer than some of the trattoria we found there. It's quite reasonable too, and won't totally break the bank: It's probably a few pounds more per item than in a bigger restaurant, but then the quality is high and the whole experience much nicer. With a tip we paid roughly £90 for 3 courses and a bottle of wine but were content with that. I'd also recommend checking out the specials carefully, as you may be in for even more of a treat if you try one or some of those.
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